Premier now cool to elec­toral re­form?

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - EDITORIAL -

As promised in his in­au­gu­ral throne speech, the premier has ini­ti­ated the process to­ward elec­toral re­form.

The premier’s of­fice re­leased its white pa­per on demo­cratic re­newal on July 9, 2015.

In­cluded in this defin­ing doc­u­ment were op­tions for our ba­sic vot­ing sys­tem. One of th­ese op­tions ap­peared to be given pref­er­en­tial treat­ment.

A spe­cial com­mit­tee on demo­cratic re­newal was struck. This com­mit­tee was to be con­sen­sus­based as much as pos­si­ble. From Oc­to­ber 14 to Nov. 16, nine pub­lic meet­ings were held across the is­land and 112 pre­sen­ta­tions were made to this com­mit­tee.

Most pre­sen­ters ques­tioned the com­pressed time­line and the lack of re­sources used to fa­cil­i­tate pub­lic par­tic­i­pa­tion.

If the premier had shown as much in­ter­est in this process as he did in pro­mot­ing live-bot­tomed trail­ers, many more Is­lan­ders likely would have been en­gaged.

The Spe­cial Com­mit­tee on Demo­cratic Re­newal tabled its ini­tial re­port on Nov. 27. It rec­om­mended a se­cond se­ries of pub­lic con­sul­ta­tions from mid-Jan­uary to mid-March, 2016. It rec­om­mended that a pub­lic education cam­paign on elec­toral sys­tems is re­quired prior to a plebiscite tak­ing place.

It also noted that: “the sys­tem most ad­vo­cated was pro­por­tional rep­re­sen­ta­tion.”

In the premier’s year-end in­ter­view with the CBC, he stated: “I’m not a be­liever in pro­por­tional rep­re­sen­ta­tion.”

He also said: “We shouldn’t be try­ing to up­set the ap­ple cart.”

As of to­day there is no men­tion of fur­ther pub­lic meet­ings on the demo­cratic re­newal web­site. In the Nov. 12 Guardian edi­to­rial “the premier says he’s all for dis­cus­sion and de­bate but there comes a time to make a de­ci­sion.”

The count­less hours ded­i­cated to this process by the com­mit­tee mem­bers and the peo­ple who pre­sented to it, were of lit­tle value, it seems, to the premier. His de­ci­sion was made be­fore the process be­gan. Boyd Allen, Pow­nal

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